Georgia Football: Kirby Smart proves he can get it done his way

Kirby Smart took Georgia Football into Charlotte and proved that defense can still rule.

In a game where most thought the final combined score would be in the 60s, Georgia football and Clemson combined for just 13. Everyone wanted to talk about both these high-powered offenses, but it was the defenses that stole the show. Neither of these two offenses scored a touchdown or gained 300 yards. It’s just as Kirby Smart said after the game, “either you’re elite or you’re not,” and Georgia’s defense is elite for sure.

The reason Georgia’s defense is elite is their defensive line, led by senior Jordan Davis. The trio of Jalen Carter, Devonte Wyatt, and Davis was a wrecking crew all night against Clemson’s offensive line. Wyatt, Davis, and Carter combined for nine tackles, three tackles for loss, and two sacks. Travon Walker added another four tackles, one for loss and a sack.

This penetration from the defensive line helped to allow the linebackers to roam around and make plays. This is why they totaled four of the defense’s eight tackles for loss, all of which were sacks. Nakobe Dean led the team with two sacks, while Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith had one apiece. Anderson and Dean tied for the second-most tackles on the team with five as well. This is a big reason why Clemson was only able to run for two yards.

There were questions about the secondary coming into this game. A lot of those were answered when Justyn Ross only had four catches for 26 yards. However, Joseph Ngata did make six catches for 110 yards. Other than allowing over 100 yards to Ngata, Georgia football held Clemson’s passing attack in check. In fact, their receivers only amassed 178 total yards. The pressure from the front seven definitely helped, but that’s not to say that the coverage wasn’t excellent as well. In fact, it was coverage that led to the game’s only touchdown when Chris Smith picked off DJU and ran the ball 74-yards to the house.

Speaking of the secondary, Lewis Cine led all defenders with nine total tackles. Now, sure, a safety leading a team in tackles is usually a bad indicator. However, six of Cine’s tackles were assists. This means he was flying around and was always around the ball. That is a great thing to see from the safety position. Also, have to give props to Kelee Ringo. The sophomore didn’t play last season, and his first game snaps were against a top-five team. He really held his own out there. He was called for an early PI, but again, it was his first College Football game.

All in all, Smart’s defense showed out. Georgia football held Clemson to just 180 total yards, 3.0 yards per play, and three points. Not bad for a coach that wasn’t supposed to be able to win a big game against a top-five opponent. Maybe the media will finally wise up to how good a coach Smart is. Either way, this Georgia football team is only going to get better from here on out.

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